Though during a divorce you are more likely to focus on your ex’s flaws than his or her endearing qualities, remember that having a positive relationship with both parents is typically healthiest for children. In fact, studies show that contentious co-parenting can lead to higher levels of misbehavior in children.
Here are three ways you can work to co-parent effectively and give your children a balanced upbringing.
1. Come to a mutually beneficial custody agreement
Although you may initially want to get the most time with your children in your custody agreement, bear in mind that children typically develop well when they spend time with two caring parents. As a result, remain open to an arrangement that will allow you and your former spouse to both spend plenty of quality time with the kids.
2. Create and stick to a parenting plan
Parenting plans look different for every family but often include:
- Rules that each parent will enforce
- Schedules and vacation plans
- Expenses and who will cover them
- Co-parent communication methods
Sticking to a plan helps create consistency for both children and parents.
3. Remember that you have a common goal
When frustrated with the difficulties associated with post-divorce parenting, remind yourself and your ex that you share one goal: providing a happy and healthy childhood for your kids. Vent your grievances to friends or family if you need to, but never bad mouth your children’s other parent in front of them.
Co-parenting is often a challenge, but with careful planning and consideration, it can go smoothly. When you commit to working together, your children will recognize your hard work and grow up happier for it.